After two offseason holdouts, the former All-Pro was rewarded with a four-year extension, worth an average of $13.4 million, in 2011. However, the player known as "CJ2K" hasn't to live up to his paycheck, failing to rush for over 1,500 yards in each season since 2009.
Johnson has also done little to help the Titans' misfortune in the AFC South standings. Tennessee has finished under .500 in two of the past three seasons, while falling short of the postseason each year since 2008
Uncharacteristically, the team's front office went on a shopping spree this offseason, signing multiple veterans in free agency. To the dismay of its franchise running back, Tennessee reached an agreement with former New York Jets starter Shonn Greene.
Johnson was vocal about his displeasure of the transaction, telling Robert Klemko and Jim Wyatt of USA Today that he was puzzled by the move:
I have never been a big fan of the two-back system, so I don't know how we plan on using him. I'm not afraid of competition, but I was thinking we'd maybe get a draft pick for the other back. And you don't give a guy that kind of money to be just a goal-line guy and in tough-yardage situations. So we'll see what happens.
Johnson would later retract his statements, telling Jim Rome on The Jim Rome Show that he was in favor of the move as long as Greene didn't "take away any carries":
I didn't like the move. I didn't think it was a smart move. [But] that's because of being too quick to say things and not really knowing the whole objectives of things. Once the offseason started, being here, being in the playbook and seeing the type of things they're trying to do, I don't think it was really a bad choice.
The Titans star has been vocal this offseason about his personal goals for 2013. Following Adrian Peterson's historic 2,097 season, Johnson looks to reclaim his place amongst the NFL's elite rushers and recapture the rushing title.
Where does Chris Johnson rank amongst the NFL's elite running backs?
The addition of Greene will improve his chances. He is a capable back who will bring a new dimension to the Titans offense.
Rather than the speedy Johnson becoming fatigued by carrying a heavy load, the dual-threat of both rushers will create a change of pace and counter defensive schemes. Johnson will have fresher legs and could become the home run threat Titans fans saw in 2009.
Johnson will also be fortunate to run behind an improved offensive line. Tennessee invested $46.8 million on former Buffalo Bills guard Andy Levitre, while drafting Alabama standout guard Chance Warmack with the No. 10 pick in April.
There are little excuses left for the Titans' franchise player. Johnson will need to live up to the expectations of a pricey contract and is now in the best position to do so.
The addition of Greene, as well as a revamped offensive line, will benefit the former All-Pro greatly.